It is not something new, as Bibi’s detractors would have you believe, to have the Palestinians, or the Arabs in general for that matter, accept Israel as a Jewish State. In fact, contrary to our President, and the erstwhile Secretary of State, acceptance of Israel by her enemies as a Jewish State is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The fact that international documents, agreements that the Arab world rejected in 1947 and continue to reject even as recent as last week, says Israel is a Jewish State, does not provide cover nor succor to those who understand the basis of this conflict. Agreements, can and have been broken by the Arab world (the wars of 1956, 1967, 1973, Hezbollah violations of their obligations in Lebanon, UN observers being attacked in the Sinai) throughout the more than 60 years of Israel’s existence. This issue is simply about the Arab (Moslem) mindset.
To the Arab mindset, Jews are inferior people. They might be considered “People of the Book” in the Koran, however, to be considered a protected class in the Moslem world is to be a lesser person (dhimmitude). Jews historically had to pay a jizya (special Jewish tax), could not wear certain clothes, partake in certain professions, ride horses, own land, they had to live in designated areas (much like ghettos), death for a Jewish man to marry a Moslem woman, and were also subject to pogroms and the whims of erratic rulers throughout the 1400 year history of Islam (to name just a few anti-Jewish laws). In the modern era, the denigration of the Jews in Arab lands was exemplified by the Nazi-like laws passed by successive Arab governments during the 1930s and the Arab siding with the Nazis against the west during WW2. Then, even after the Holocaust, the Arab League in 1947 passed resolutions calling for the confiscation of Jewish property and expulsion of all Jews from all of the Arab countries, where in fact most of those communities had existed since before the rise of Islam. Today the Arab Middle East is ineffect Judenrein.
The idea that Jews would rule over, or be the majority, in a nation where Moslems or other Arabs live, is unthinkable to the Arab mind. The idea that they are superior in every way to the Jew is endemic to Arab culture. Islam is seen as the perfect manifestation of God’s law on Earth. It is Islam that is meant to rule, not Judaism. So to say to the world that the Jewish State has a right to exist, that Jews can rule over Moslem/Arabs, that Jews are to be seen as on an equal footing to a Moslem denigrates every propriety of the Arab honor-cultural-code. It is why there are these fanciful stories out of the Arab world of Jewish conspiracies, plots and evil machinations. The good that Israel does is even seen as something with sinister intent. It is beyond the Arab mass cultural identity to see anything that Israel (actually Jews for that matter) does in a positive light. Israel and Jewish success has to be because of some ulterior motive sparked by evil. It is the only way the Arab world can maintain their “honor code” when dealing with those they consider inferior. (see MEMRI website for the latest conspiracy theories from the Arab world; Palwatch for the latest Jew-hatred coming out of the Palestinian Authority)
Hence the biggest and unspoken issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the settlements, Palestinian refugees (who could have had a state 3 times since 1948 if their leaders had accepted any form of land-sharing agreement), the continued Israeli control of Judea and Samaria, but the inherent cultural norm in the Arab world to denigrate the Jewish people. It does not matter how many peace agreements are signed by Israel and the Palestinians. There will never be peace until the Arab world comes to the conclusion that the Jews are equal to them as a people. That it is not a violation of their “honor” to live in a majority Jewish state and that the Jews have the same right of self-determination as all peoples, even if that right leads to an Arab minority in a predominantly Jewish run State.
Arab oligarchs, strongmen and those who promote general Jew-hatred, raise a myriad of little false flags to propagandize the Arab anti-Jewish State position that somehow declaring Israel as a Jewish state will undermine minority status in that State (as if the Arabs give equal rights to any minorities or women in their nations.) It does not matter how many times people point out that there is equal rights in Israel for all; or that the Israeli declaration of Independence guarantees such rights; or that the Israeli Supreme Court has reaffirmed time and time again the concept of equal rights in Israel; or that there are prominent and successful Arabs in the State of Israel in every walk of life.
It is not about Israel as a state that is at the heart of the conflict. It is simply about Jews as Jews having the right to not be a subjugated people. When the Arab world learns to deal with that reality, then and only then, will there be peace. And then, and only then, will any peace agreement between Arabs and Israelis be worth the paper that it is written on.
For a better understanding of the real underlying issues facing the Arab-Israeli conflict begin with these books:
The Arab Mind, Raphael Patai
The Seed of Abraham, Raphael Patai
The Farhud, Edwin Black
Nazis, Islamist and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Barry Rubin and Wolfgang Schwanitz
A Lethal Obsession, Robert Wistrich
In the House of Ishmael, Martin Gilbert
Jihad and Jew-Hatred, Matthias Kuntzel
Islamic Imperialism, Efraim Karsh
Semites and Anti-Semites, Bernard Lewis
The Jews of Islam, Bernard Lewis
The Jews of Arab Land, Norman Stillman
Understanding Dhimmitude, Bat Yeor
Anti-Judaism, David Nirenberg
Heaven on Earth, Richard Landes
Terror: The New Anti-Semitism and the War Against the West, Fiamma Nirenstein
(Note: any writings by these above referenced authors is very instructive on the issues surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict)